Isaias soaks New Jersey, halting trains and leaving outages

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Heavy rains and high winds swept across New Jersey on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Isaias roared to the north, leaving behind power outages, suspended train service and reports of tornadoes.

A state of emergency remained in effect and Gov. Phil Murphy said during a briefing the western part of the state would likely get the most rain while the strongest winds would hit the shore.

A trained spotter saw an apparent tornado in the Cape May County community of Strathmere, the National Weather Service said. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or damage, although some trees were reportedly knocked down.

The storm disrupted ground travel across the state. New Jersey Transit suspended all rail service Tuesday afternoon due to overhead wire and signal issues, and downed trees blocked lanes on the Garden State Parkway in Upper Township and the New Jersey Turnpike in Edison.

A 35 mph speed restriction was in effect at the George Washington Bridge due to high winds, and NY Waterway ferry service was suspended at noon.

Newark Liberty International reported some flight cancellations Tuesday morning, but the airport was experiencing only minor departure and arrival delays by afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The state’s utilities were reporting more than 1 million homes and businesses without electricity Tuesday afternoon. Crews were staging to restore service once the worst of the weather had passed.

Weather forecasters were predicting 45 to 55 mph winds with gusts to 70 mph.

Motorists were told to stay off the roads unless “absolutely necessary.” The New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway banned car-pulled trailers and motorcycles.

All state offices were closed and nonessential state government workers were told to stay home.

Murphy said he was hoping the day would mostly be a “washout.”